THE LILLS NATCHEZ MISSISSIPPI ADVENTURE
When we headed out of the little port town of Beaufort, South Carolina, we didn’t have destinations in mind for our cross-country adventure. We pointed our VW bus away from the coast and just let our hearts be our guides. When we got tired, we looked up nearby state parks and made it up to the highest point in Alabama. We camped in our hippie bus and the next day drove onward. We made it to Louisiana, enjoyed over a week in New Orleans and bounced over to the quaint city of Natchez, Mississippi, founded in 1716.
Natchez was first inhabited by a Native American race, the Natchez Indians, who were known for their social system and for sadly being wiped out by the French. A guy told us it is where the saying “Too many chiefs, not enough Indians” originated. Natchez eventually developed into an important U.S. city, where people traveled through on their journeys up, down and across the Mississippi River.
The city was split into two sections, known as “Above the Hill” and “Under the Hill”. Above the Hill was supposedly the nicer of the two sides, as Under the Hill became known as one of the most lively port towns on the river, filled with saloons, brothels, theft, murder and more. All sorts of different kinds of boats, such as steamboats, docked there during the nineteenth-century and unloaded goods and people. It was said that in Natchez, “the only thing cheaper than a woman’s body was a man’s life”. What a wild time and place that must have been.
On Father’s Day, we made our way to Under the Hill, now a quiet little area in Natchez. We met a young guy who carried holy ash, sage, moldavite from a meteorite site, holy water and some really good energy. One of our father’s had studied and practiced the teachings from Guru Yogananda, so it was pretty crazy on Father’s Day to hear Yogananda was his guru too! We had a great conversation sitting out by the river and he gave us some stunning sage to use the next time we wanted to clear some energy.
That evening, we treated ourselves to a hotel and got a good night’s rest. We woke up late the next morning, jumped in the hotel pool, completed a bunch of work for our design clients, visited Above the Hill in Natchez and jumped back into the pool. Although we try to avoid spending money at hotels, every once and a while we enjoy treat stays, where we freshen up and reenergize.
While in Natchez, we enjoyed two treat meals and one veggie meal at The Camp, a super cool restaurant that overlooks the river. The food was scrumptious and the staff was so friendly. Next door to The Camp restaurant stood the oldest saloon on the Mississippi and supposedly, Mark Twain used to stay in the guest house above it. We got word that the owner of the building rents out rooms to travelers for $85 a night, so we immediately headed over to the saloon to see if any were available.
The bartender, Chase, was so cool and spoke about his trip he was about to take around the U.S. Like us, he was always out for an adventure and was all about minimalism. He said he built his own place in the woods and spent three years off grid. He also said they were his best and most favorite years so far. It was such a great time talking about life, metaphysics, traveling and the future and he even helped us book the last of three small rooms in Mark Twain’s Guest House. We fell in love with our riverfront view, enjoyed some sleep and got going pretty early the next day.
We jumped on the Natchez Trace, a scenic road which runs from Mississippi to Tennessee. We traveled to Emerald Mound, a social and spiritual gathering place where the Natchez Indians supposedly congregated. We climbed to the top of the mound, laid in the grass and imagined what life must have been like back when humans, such as the Natchez tribe, lived off the land.
From our position, we could see down below and every once and a while a car would either travel by or stop by to look at the historic site. Each vehicle gave off a different vibe and all of them felt positive, except for one. For some reason, the wind shifted directions and we noticed the car that stopped behind our parked bus was not carrying tourists or travelers. When we went down to check it out, it still felt very off and the people did not seem friendly, so we followed our hearts, packed up and headed out.
It’s a really good thing that those people showed up and energetically moved us, because once we made it back to the outskirts of Natchez and pulled over for a real-deal, traditional donut treat day snack, we were stopped by a woman we had met when we first arrived. She let us know a big storm was headed right for us, so we grabbed our donuts and ran. As we headed out of Natchez, the sky turned red and the wind became fierce, so we looked up more information regarding Tropical Storm Cindy. At that time, the furry was right behind us, so we did our best to stay ahead of it.
We drove back through Louisiana, made it out of the storm’s way and couldn’t believe the timing of it all. Natchez, Mississippi, was an absolute blast and we were so happy we were able to spend more than one day exploring the area before the weather turned. We stopped outside of Shreveport, the weather died down and by around 1pm the next day, the rain began to come down, so we kept moving. After a full day of driving, we finally reached our fourth destination and we were able to catch our breaths. See what’s next on our cross-country adventure here!